WEST ORANGE, NJ - The month of November provides a large challenge for those who run a food pantry, as pantries struggle to provide turkeys and trimmings in addition to regular alottments. However, the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry, located at 315 Main St., was able to distribute food and turkeys to more than 230 families this month with a hand from the West Orange community.
To add some fun to the proceedings, this year's effort was dubbed "Turkeypalooza" by the food pantry.
The team at the food pantry (Cynthia, Freddie, Pat, Pat, Pam, Midge, Eric, George, George, Melinda, Virginia, Martha, Karen, Judy, Ann Marie, and Sandy) works to pick up deliveries, stock shelves and distribute food for its members based on how many persons are in their family. In November, the pantry coordinates with the West Orange community to help with the extra turkeys and food needed to brighten Thanksgiving for its many members, many of whom are unemployed, underemployed, senior citizens, homeless, and disabled. Nearly half of the pantry population is comprised of children under the age of 18.
At the beginning of the month, several pickups were made at the Community Food Bank, including 72 roasting chickens and 44 turkeys. The rest usually came from individuals, businesses and organization throughout West Orange.
TAP into West Orange chronicled some of the action at the food pantry this year to give an idea of the response received from the community.
West Orange Township and the Department of Public Works dropped off the leftovers from the Mayor's Sunshine Fund Thanksgiving drive. The township also provided 150 baskets and turkeys to needy West Orange families.
The West Orange Rotary, for filling a huge van with food collected at their Nov. 23 food drive at Shoprite; the National Council of Jewish Women, the West Orange Elks, Kessler Rehabilitation, the Life Christian Church for 30 turkeys and trimmings; Groupe SEB USA, the West Orange High School Boys Soccer Team, Mountaintop League, and Sodexo, the school district's food provider;
To Barry Geltzeiler, a West Orange resident, who along with Dunkin Donuts owner Adam Goldman collected 67 turkeys across town (Geltzeiler attributes this accomplishment to wonderful friends, family, and residents); MEND (Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity); the West Orange Chamber of Commerce; Alisa Vural; Baba Sackey from Adopt-A-Village, and Elizabeth, George, Amy, Mary, Brenda, Kathy, Karen, Jerry, Tony, Pat, Chris, Lauraleigh, Shannon, Eric, Doug, United Presbyterian Church, Holy Innocents, Sons of Italy, and so many others who made special trips to drop off turkeys or volunteered their time.
The Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry has a lot to be thankful for, and so does West Orange, another Bedford Falls if there ever was one.